Practical System Safety

A Safety Management Systems (SMS) Certificate Course

See Course Schedule

Today, the complexity of modern equipment and operations provides a new and very different challenge for the safety professional. The earliest attempts at improving safety were generally aimed at identifying and controlling obvious hazards and then correcting other problems after the equipment was in service or at least in testing. At first this was an acceptable method since correcting the many obvious safety hazards quickly resulted in a marked, dramatic improvement in safety. But, once equipment and systems began to increase in complexity, these gains were lost. This is clearly demonstrated in the early days of the aerospace era, (the 1950s and 1960s). As we began to develop jet powered aircraft and space and missile systems it quickly became clear that we could not wait for problems to develop, we had to anticipate them and “fix” them before they occurred. To put it another way: the “Fly-Fix-Fly” philosophy was no longer workable.

The need to anticipate and fix problems before they occurred led to a new approach — a consideration of the design as a “system”. This means that all aspects of the design of operation, machine, operator, environment, etc., must be considered in identifying potential hazards and establishing appropriate controls. Another important part of this “systems” approach to safety is the realization that resources for safety are limited and there must be some logical, reasoned way to apply resources to the most serious potential problems. Systems safety provides this capability.

Systems Safety has proven its value in the dramatic improvements in aviation safety over the past 50 years. It is not by chance that flying is demonstrably the safest mode of travel. And we are increasingly coming to understand that all modern systems require a more logical, focused approach to identifying and controlling hazards. System Safety is no longer just for the aerospace designer and nuclear engineer, it is the most effective method of improving the safety of any modern operation. As it has developed and matured, System Safety has moved away from being the exclusive domain of design engineers and has become less “mathematical” and more “practical”. This means that modern concepts of system safety can be used by any organization or person who wants a logical, visible, and traceable method of identifying and controlling safety hazards. That is the purpose of this Practical System Safety Course.

In this course you will learn the concepts that are central to a “systems safety approach”. These include the definition and elements of a system, the idea of acceptable level of risk, and the elements of the System Safety Process. You will transition from a review of the development of system safety to an examination of the steps in implementing a systems approach to your safety program. You will learn the steps in identifying and effectively controlling hazards, the basis for effective safety programs. You will be introduced to both the Department of Defense and FAA approaches to Systems Safety and learn how these design-oriented programs improve safety and how they can be adapted to operational needs.

After you have become familiar with the management aspects of a System Safety Program, you will be introduced to several of the tools and techniques of System Safety Analysis. These will focus on the most common and most useful techniques, particularly those recommended as part of the certification process for commercial aircraft. They are Functional Hazard Analysis, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis, Fault Tree Analysis and Zonal Analysis. The course will also introduce you to those analysis techniques that have been found most useful in evaluating current operations such as Job Safety Analysis, Program Evaluation Technique, and Change Analysis. You will learn to use these techniques through actual examples and case studies.

Finally, you will integrate these elements into a safety program plan that is tailored to your organization’s needs.

Who Should Attend

  • Any manager, supervisor or safety professional who needs to understand the “systems” concept as it is applied to safety
  • Anyone wishing an understanding of Systems Safety as it is applied to the aircraft certification process described in Advisory Circular 25.1309-1A
  • Anyone wishing a basic understanding of the military concept of system safety and how current safety standards are applied in acquisition and operations

The PSS course was identified by the USAF Systems Command (Now the USAF Materiel Command) System Safety Office as a suitable substitute for the former USAF Safety Center System Safety Management Course (WCIP 057). All of the subjects covered in the old SSM are contained in the Practical System Safety Course as shown in the matrix below.

How You Will Benefit

  • You will learn the fundamental concepts of system safety and how they apply in operational as well as design activities.
  • You will learn the system safety process and how safety is integrated into each phase of a system’s life cycle.
  • You will be introduced to the concepts of cost and risk acceptance and how to develop a system safety program.
  • After you have learned the basics of system safety management, you will be introduced to some of the tools and techniques of system safety analysis.
  • Using practical examples you will become familiar with the basic system safety analysis process used by both military and FAA safety planners.
  • The Board of Certified Safety Professionals accepts this course for Continuance of Certification Credit.
  • SCSI will grant 3.6 CEUs to participants who successfully complete this course.

Course Topics

  • Introduction to System Safety

o Current Approaches to System Safety used by the Dept. of Defense, the FAA, and the JAA.

o Definitions & Legal Aspects of System, Safety

o The Costs & Benefits of System Safety

  • Risk Management
  • System Safety Management

o Developing and Controlling the System Safety Program

o The System Life Cycle

o System Safety Tasks

o System Safety Interfaces

  • System Safety Engineering

o The Technical Evaluation of a System for Hazards

o System Safety Engineering Tasks

o Performing & Evaluating Hazard Analyses

o Safety Modifications & OSS&E

  • Human Factors

o Evaluating and Managing the Problem of Human Error

  • Contracting for System Safety

o Establishing the Requirements for the System and Program

o Evaluating System Safety Programs

  • Facilities System Safety

o Making Our Facilities As Safe As Possible

  • Software Safety

o Developing Safer Software

  • Test & Evaluation, EOSH and Other Safety Requirements

o How System Safety is involved in testing, environmental and occupational safety & health as well as some other safety considerations.

  • Class Projects and Exercises

Course Administration

The Practical Systems Safety Course consists of 4.5 days (36 hours of classroom instruction) Participants receive lecture outlines, additional reference material, and a Certificate of Completion. Classes begin at 0800 and end at noon on the last day.